Government to corporatise PTCL for sell-off -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Government to corporatise PTCL for sell-off

LAHORE, September 13: After failing to find a single buyer for local telecommunication giant the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited, government on the advise of donor agencies have decided to corporatise it on WAPDA’s pattern.

Sources informed The Nation that the PTCL board in its recent meeting has taken a decision in principle to divide the present most of the prospective buyers. This is being- done on the same lines as was done in WAPDA when the area electricity boards were converted into separate companies.

The sources said that despite an excellent balance sheet very few investors showed interest in acquiring the company. They said the few investors left in the field wanted to exploit the situation and indicated very low price for the entity. The price indicated for the Telecommunication Company did not even cover half the cost of its sufficiently satisfactory infrastructure.

The situation it was learnt was discussed with the donor agencies with the privatisation Commission. The PC was then advised to initiate corporatisation in PTCL as well. These donors who earlier pressed the government to privatize PTCL at any cost now realize that Pakistan is not had pressed for immediate cash like it was three years back. They suggested the government to break-up PTCL in to small corporations as was done in case of WAPDA. They said that each corporation could then be restructured for privatisation. They said smaller corporations would attract large number of buyers.They said government would then be able to obtain better price for PTCL.

It was learnt that the PTCL board has initiated the restructuring process. Sources said that as a first the board has decided to offer voluntary separation scheme to its grade 1-16 employees. The board expects to trim down its workforce by 12000-16000 that will make the organisation lean and efficient.

The board had already constituted a committee to assess the efficiency, qualification, output and capability of its staff above grade 16. The committee has complied a report and the weeding out process would start soon in this cadre as well. It was learnt that the officers would be interviewed by a high level body who would then decide the fate of these officers. No set criteria have been established for removal of “unwanted officers’. It was learnt that some may be forced to go on compulsory retirement. Some may be offered voluntary separation scheme.

It was revealed the list of employees that are to be relieved from gradel-16 has been finalized. However no final decision has been taken regarding the officers. The PTCL board is expected to meet again on September 24 to take further steps in this regard.

PTCL presently enjoys monopoly in landline and has infrastructure spread through out the country. Besides over four million fixed subscribers the company owns a mobile phone company besides having interests in a telephone manufacture facility. PTCL has the distinction of being the highest taxpayer in the corporate sector.
Source: Nation
Date:9/13/2003